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benefits of leave in conditioner

5 Benefits of Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair

This hydrating product may be the key to long-lasting moisture for your strands.
17 Mar 2023
Sulfate-free shampoos and nourishing conditioners are seen as the foundation for a good hair care routine for natural hair, but we think leave-in conditioners are just as important. Hair care doesn't happen only on wash day, and leave-in conditioners can provide long-lasting moisture to your strands, along with other benefits such as taming frizz and repairing damage. Here, we break down the benefits of leave-in conditioner for natural hair and how to incorporate one into your hair care routine.

What Does a Leave-In Conditioner Do?

Leave-in conditioners are products that are applied after you wash your hair. As the name suggests, leave-in conditioners are not rinsed out, and they’re typically applied to damp hair before styling — although some can also be applied when your hair is dry.

Leave-in conditioners add moisture to the hair and many formulations can also help to detangle and protect your hair from heat damage so it stays healthy and curls retain their shape.

How to Pick the Right Leave-in Conditioner for Your Hair Type

When it comes to choosing the right in leave-in conditioner, you’ll want to look at two main factors before adding one to your hair care routine.

1. Ingredients

Many leave-in conditioners include hydrating ingredients such as castor oil, shea butter, and almond oil, so you can read the product label to choose which one best works for your hair type. While all of those ingredients will help moisturize your hair, shea butter will also help with frizziness and smoothing, while castor oil will help strengthen your strands. If your hair needs repairing from damage, choose a leave-in conditioner that contains repairing serum or other ingredients known to bring hair back to a healthy state.

2. Your Hair’s Porosity

Hair porosity can negatively impact the strength and health of your hair, but a leave-in conditioner can help with that. If you have low porosity hair, your strands likely have a hard time absorbing moisture, and products tend to sit on top of your hair rather than sink in. The right leave-in conditioner for you will be in spray form, so the product won’t weigh down your hair and has a thinner consistency that has a better chance of penetrating your hair shaft.

High porosity strands easily absorb and release moisture, which can lead to dryness, so your leave-in conditioner should be a cream, particularly one that has added proteins to strengthen and help your hair hold on to moisture.

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The Benefits Of Leave-In Conditioner For Natural Hair

Leave-in conditioner can help you take care of your natural hair so it looks and feels its best. Check out some of the ways it benefits your hair when applied regularly.

1. Increased Moisture

Natural hair is more prone to dryness and heat damage, and a leave-in conditioner can both treat damage and prevent it from ever happening in the first place. The Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer uses shea butter, soybean oil and agave nectar to intensely hydrate natural hair and keep the moisture locked in.

2. Hydrates Without Weigh-Down

If you feel like your strands are easily weighed down by other hair care products, try a leave-in conditioner that’s lightweight while still offering all of the hair care benefits that you’re looking for. The Goddess Strength Divine Strength Leave In Cream With Castor Oil intensely moisturizes and supports your hair as it grows, but you won’t feel any heaviness on your strands when you use it.

3. Repairs Damage and Strengthens Weak Hair

Since leave-in conditioners are not rinsed out, they can help to repair hair damage. The Born To Repair Defining Leave-In Cream With Shea Butter includes ingredients like shea butter and Amazonian nut oil to make your strands feel stronger and improve the smoothness of your curls.

4. Helps With Breakage

If you notice excess shedding and breakage when you comb or brush through your hair, a leave-in conditioner like the Monoi Repairing Leave-In Conditioner can help strengthen your strands. This leave-in includes a blend of wheat protein and pro-vitamin B5 that will strengthen and repair your hair so it won’t break as much, especially when you’re detangling.

5. Controls Frizz

If you notice your natural hair getting frizzy, a leave-in like the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In Conditioner can help with that by coating and hydrating your strands. The weightless leave-in conditioner is made with natural moisturizers like aloe leaf to hydrate the hair and soothe any frizz.

Can You Use Leave-In Conditioner Everyday?

Your leave-in conditioner regimen will depend on how often you wash your hair. If you wash your hair every day then you can use a leave-in conditioner every day, but if you wash your hair once or twice a week then you shouldn't reach for a leave-in conditioner daily.

However, if your leave-in conditioner can be used on dry hair, then you can use it every day — although daily usage should generally be left to those with dry strands that need a lot of moisture and hydration. A leave-in conditioner like the Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner is gentle enough to use every day, and it’ll be especially useful for those with heat damage or weak hair due to its powerful combination of almond oil, shea oil, aloe butter, cocoa seed butter and aloe leaf juice.

Which Is Better: Leave-In Conditioner or Conditioner?

Both leave-in conditioner and conditioner are key parts of a hair care routine, and neither is better than the other — they simply have different functions. Conditioner helps your hair retain any moisture lost from shampooing, while leave-in conditioner further hydrates your strands throughout the day.

You also use them differently because conditioners generally come in a cream form that is meant to be washed out, while a leave-in conditioner can be in the form of a cream, spray, or gel. Leave-in conditioner and conditioner also help to detangle your hair just at different parts of the hair care process.

Can You Sleep With Leave-In Conditioner?

You can, and should, sleep with leave-in conditioner in your hair. The product is not meant to be rinsed out, so it will continue to hydrate your hair through the day (and night) up until your next wash day, or whenever you feel like you need some more moisture and re-apply it.

Can You Use Leave-In Conditioner Instead of Regular Conditioner?

While they’re similar, leave-in conditioner can’t replace regular conditioner. Leave-in conditioner does give your hair a boost of hydration, but the product isn’t meant to condition your hair in the same way that traditional conditioner does. Regular conditioners are heavier and thicker than leave-in conditioners because you rinse them out, so they provide strength and moisture to your strands from the inside out.

How to Use Leave-In Conditioner

Adding a leave-in conditioner to your existing hair care routine is as easy as following these five steps below.

Step 1.

Shampoo and condition your hair with the hydrating and repairing Born To Repair Sulfate-Free Nourishing Shampoo and Born To Repair Nourishing Conditioner With Shea Butter which cleanse and nourish your hair with shea butter and Amazonian nut oil.

Step 2.

After you’re done, rinse your hair as usual, then dry your hair with a microfiber towel or t-shirt to remove excess water.

Step 3.

Per your product’s guidelines, apply or spray the leave-in conditioner to your hair. Make sure to pay close attention to the product’s instructions about how much to rub in or spray so you don't apply too much, which will weigh down your natural hair and make it look limp.

Step 4.

Let your curls air dry or begin your hairstyling process.

Step 5.

In the days after wash day (the timing is up to your personal preference and hair type) apply more leave-in conditioner on dry hair for hydration.

Next up: How To Moisturize From Your Strands To Your Toes

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